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Bim Skala Bim

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Bim Skala Bim was one of America's initial responses to Britain's 2-Tone movement in the early '80s. Also inspired by the Clash, UB40 and Bob Marley, the group has also become one of the longest-lasting ska groups in America and has the tightest lineup. Formed in Boston in 1983 by vocalist Dan Vitale and bassist Mark Ferranti, Bim Skala Bim's lineup has been unchanged since 1989, presently including Vitale and Ferranti plus drummer Jim Arhelger, percussionist Rick Barry, keyboard player John Cameron, guitarist Jim Jones and trombonist Vincent Noble. Bim Skala Bim released a self-titled album in 1986, and appeared on the Boston ska compilation Mash It Up two years later. The group signed to Celluloid Records in 1988, but 1989's Tuba City proved to be its only Celluloid release. The band recorded and released How's It Goin'? (1990) and Bones (1991) on their own; in 1992, however, Relativity agreed to distribute their records through the group's own Bib Records (Big Indie Beat). (Subsequent albums appeared on Bib, as well as reissues of efforts going back to Tuba City.) Live at the Paradise (1993) captured Bim Skala Bim's energetic live show, and the group's sixth full-length, American Playhouse, appeared in 1995. Two years later, the group released Universal; Test Patterns followed in 1999. ~ John Bush